Respecting cultural integrity of indigenous peoples and communities

Protecting indigenous cultures
Protecting heritage of indigenous peoples
There are some 5,000 distinct indigenous peoples in the world, groups that can be distinguished by linguistic and cultural differences, and by geographical separation. Indigenous people live in more than 70 countries and represent 4% (250 million people) of the world's population.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

Pygmies in northeastern Congo have been among the most successful in preserving their identity, partly because they were protected by the lack of development and the disastrous state of the roads. The roads are such an obstacle to movement that they have kept at bay the loggers who would destroy the forests that are the pygmies' habitat.

1. The effective protection of indigenous peoples' heritage will be of long-term benefit to all humanity. Cultural diversity contributes to the adaptability and creativity of the human species as a whole. 2. To be effective, the protection of indigenous peoples' heritage should be based broadly on the principle of self-determination, which includes the right and the duty of indigenous peoples to develop their own cultures and knowledge systems. 3. Indigenous peoples should be recognized as the primary guardians and interpreters of their cultures, arts and sciences, whether created in the past or developed by them in the future. 4. International recognition and respect for indigenous peoples' own customs, rules and practices for the transmission of their heritage to future generations, and for the sharing of their heritage with others, is essential to these peoples' enjoyment of human rights and dignity. 5. Indigenous peoples' ownership and custody of their heritage must continue to be collective, permanent and inalienable, as prescribed by the customs, rules and practices of each people. 6. The discovery, use and teaching of indigenous peoples' knowledge, arts and cultures is inextricably connected with the traditional lands and territories of each people. Control over traditional territories and resources is essential to the continued transmission of indigenous peoples' heritage to future generations and its full protection. 7. To protect their heritage indigenous peoples must control their own means of cultural transmission and education. This includes their right to the continued use and, wherever necessary, the restoration of their own languages and orthographies. 8. To protect their heritage indigenous peoples must also exercise control over all research conducted within their territories, or which uses their people as subjects of study. 9. The free and informed consent of the traditional owners should be an essential precondition of any agreements which may be made for the recording, study, use or display of indigenous peoples' heritage. 10. Any agreement made for the recording, study, use or display of indigenous peoples' heritage must be revocable and ensure that the peoples concerned continue to be the primary beneficiaries of commercial application.

11. National laws should guarantee that indigenous peoples can obtain prompt, effective and affordable judicial or administrative action to prevent, punish and obtain full restitution and compensation for the acquisition, documentation or use of their heritage without proper authorization of the traditional owners. 12. National laws should deny to any person or corporation the right to obtain patent, copyright or other legal protection for any element of indigenous peoples' heritage without adequate documentation of the free and informed consent of the traditional owners to an arrangement for the sharing of ownership, control and benefits. 13. National laws should ensure the labelling and correct attribution of indigenous peoples, artistic, literary and cultural works whenever they are offered for public display or sale. Attribution should be in the form of a trademark or an appellation of origin, authorized by the peoples or communities concerned. 14. National laws for the protection of indigenous peoples' heritage should be adopted following consultations with the peoples concerned, in particular the traditional owners and teachers of religious, sacred and spiritual knowledge, and wherever possible, should have the consent of the peoples concerned. 15. National laws should ensure that the use of traditional languages in education, arts and the mass media is respected and, to the extent possible, promoted and strengthened. 16. Governments should provide indigenous communities with financial and institutional support for the control of local education, through community-managed programmes, and with use of traditional pedagogy and languages. 16. The mass media in all countries should take effective measures to promote understanding of and respect for indigenous peoples' heritage, in particular through special broadcasts and public-service programmes prepared in collaboration with indigenous peoples. 17. Journalists should respect the privacy of indigenous peoples, in particular concerning traditional religious, cultural and ceremonial activities, and refrain from exploiting or sensationalizing indigenous peoples, heritage. 18. Journalists should actively assist indigenous peoples in exposing any activities, public or private, which destroy or degrade indigenous peoples' heritage. 19. Educators should ensure that school curricula and textbooks teach understanding and respect for indigenous peoples' heritage and history and recognize the contribution of indigenous peoples to the creativity and cultural diversity of the country as a whole.

Minority, indigenous groups
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies